In Pink

Monday, March 27th, 2017

Shades of pink continue to pack a punch this season. Usher in spring by wearing soft rose floral dresses or solid blush colored tops. If your tastes run to bolder colors, try accessorizing with a hint of pink.

Petal Pink Power

Eyeshadow
$9.98 – vestry.com

Eye makeup
$165 – charlottetilbury.com

Maybelline lipstick
maybelline.com

Burberry lip makeup
$28 – net-a-porter.com

Nail polish
nailsinc.com

Sole sense: making the case against stiletto heels

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Maybe 2016 will be the year when women say “enough is enough” to mega high heels. As a stylist, I’m the first person to appreciate the aesthetics of heels as they add height and enhance the shapeliness of a woman’s legs. Heels vs. flats also instantaneously dress up any outfit.

Since the mid 90’s however, I’ve watched as heel heights grew from three to as high as six inches. Every time I see a lady teetering awkwardly on her stilettos, I ask myself why she would subject herself to such torture. My only explanation is that many women have bought into the fashion industry driven hype that a five-inch high heel, like a glass slipper, magically transforms them. Christian Louboutin, author of the quote, “High heels are pleasure with pain”, also has this to say about their allure:”The higher the better. It’s more about an attitude. Higher heels empower women in a way.”

The myriad health risks associated with consistent high heel use are well documented. A 2013 Women’s Health Magazine article “What Happens To Your Body When You Wear Heels” explains that wearing a four-inch heel puts 30% more pressure on the front of the foot, thus stressing these bones and nerves as well as tightening the Achilles and adjoining tendons of the ankle. The article goes on to list the other unfortunate body parts victimized by consistent high heel use, such as knees, hips, and lower backs.

To all you stiletto wearing diehards, I invite you to step into some of this year’s high heel alternatives, such as block heels and sleek pumps. Who knows? You may like the way your feet feel and your legs look in these shoe styles. Having lived through decades of shoe trends and advised clients for years on their wardrobes, I can honestly say that moderate heel heights win the prize for both elegance and sexiness.

Sole Sense: 2016 Shoe Trends

J.Crew kitten heel shoes
$370 – jcrew.com

Black shoes
riverisland.se

Kate spade shoes
katespade.com

Talbots shoes
talbots.com

Fall shoe essentials

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Last week I set out on a mission with one of my clients to replenish her shoe collection. Since she had enough work shoes, we spent our time looking for boots, flats, and active wear shoes. It took us a total of two hours at two stores to find just the shoes she needed for a well-rounded shoe wardrobe.

Studies show that women own about nineteen pairs of shoes at any given time, and they also purchase seven new pairs each year. There are those with an Imelda Marcus mindset that need to accumulate more and more shoes. I once knew someone who had an entire extra closet built to house all of her acquisitions. On the other hand, one of my minimalist friends does fine with five pairs of shoes. Although the right amount and type of shoes to own depends on both the lifestyle and the diversity of a person’s wardrobe, here is my list of top ten fall shoe essentials:

1. One pair of neutral equestrian style tall boots;
2. One pair of short flat boots/booties;
3. One pair of short booties/shooties with medium to high heel;
4. One pair of modern loafer or driving moccasin style shoe;
5. One pair of neutral ballet type flat;
6. One pair of special occasion shoes;
7. One slip of rubber sole casual wear shoe – Keds, Toms, Vans, or the equivalent;
8. One pair of heeled pumps;
9. One pair of rain or water repellant boots;
10. One wildcard – a just for fun shoe. Mine is a Michael Kors silver studded black and white oxford.

Does your shoe wardrobe resemble this list? What would you add to or delete from this list?

Shoe Essentials

Charlotte Olympia flat shoes
$660 – forzieri.com

Frye boots
backcountry.com

Frye ankle booties
nordstrom.com

Kate Spade slip on shoes
couture.zappos.com

Tod’s slip on shoes
$420 – net-a-porter.com

Chloé ballet flat
shop-hers.com

Report suede boots
nordstrom.com

Top Guy knee boots
nordstromrack.com

Ballerina shoes
gojane.com

simple shoe prints
openclipart.org

Three big fall fashion trends

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Fall is the time for hoodies and hot cocoa. It is the season for sweaters, spiced apple cider, and long walks through Falls Park. When early mornings and evenings turn chilly here in Greenville, SC, folks dress in layers and start wearing colors that mirror nature’s changing landscape. Those in the fashion know are wearing these latest three exciting trends:

Tunics: This versatile separate flatters a range of body types and ages. Tunics with asymmetrical hems as well as lace or sheer borders remain hugely popular this fall. What looks more pulled together than a tunic paired with leggings and a striking third piece, like a moto jacket or a swing cardigan?

Ponchos: The roots of this one piece armless blanket-style wrap date back to the ancient indigenous cultures of South America. The appeal of the poncho as both a protective rain garment and fashion statement has endured through the ages. Many of the Aztec patterned and fringe-hemmed ponchos of today resemble the iconic original garment from the Americas as well as ones from the 1970’s. Contemporary designers, taking the poncho to new fashion heights, have added fur and leather accents and used feather light cashmere and exotic tapestry-like materials.

Sweaters: Re-creations of this cold weather clothing essential appear in many forms this season. Oversized cardigans with high-low hems and fine gauge maxi sweater dusters make perfect autumnal layering pieces. Speaking of oversized, the trending style in cropped and long pullovers is extra roomy. Cowl necks and turtlenecks are back big time as are chunky cable and Fair Isle knit sweaters.

If you need some inspiration about how to liven up your fall wardrobe, this visual shows you which pieces instantaneously do the trick.

What is your favorite “go to” fall look?

Fall Sweaters

Wallis fringe top
wallisfashion.com

Oasis long sleeve shirt
$58 – johnlewis.com

French Connection pull on pants
$185 – frenchconnection.com

Rag & bone black jeans
$330 – net-a-porter.com

Short boots
shein.com

Red purse
romwe.com

Warehouse crossbody handbag
$38 – warehouse.co.uk

DesignSix drop earrings
$10 – asos.com

Red hat
$15 – newlook.com

Heart sticker
$5.98 – zazzle.co.uk

Cabi clothing for spring

Friday, May 8th, 2015

I met my first Cabi consultant, Terry Sadowski, at a business networking event in downtown Greenville several months ago. Before launching a career with Cabi, Terry owned Plaza Suite, a popular clothing boutique in Greenville, South Carolina. The adorable leopard print Cabi coat and black slim ankle length pants that Terry wore that evening peeked my interest in the Cabi line. A few weeks later, I came upon three Cabi pieces in a client’s closet while conducting a wardrobe review with her. The quality, versatility, and fine fit of all three pieces impressed me. When I began creating outfits for my client from the clothes that remained in her closet after the edit, It quickly became apparent that her Cabi pieces stood out as the backbone of her wardrobe. Almost everything she owned went well with those three Cabi items.

When Terry approached me about hosting a Cabi party, I jumped at the chance to introduce my clients and friends to the line, and receive enormously discounted clothes for myself. I purchased an ultra soft pair of blush colored skinny jeans, a blue and white striped tee shirt with an eye catching asymmetrical hem, and a light-weight anorak jacket, ideal for Greenville’s springtime temperatures. Not only did my guests love the line, but many of them bought multiple pieces.

Here is a little taste of Cabi’s spring collection. I can see wearing this outfit to Artisphere this weekend.

Cabi Spring Collection

What to wear to keep the cold out

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Last night as I watched newscasters report on storm Juno while being pelleted by snow, I felt very grateful that I now live in Greenville, South Carolina. Winters are extremely mild here, but we still wake up to frosty mornings. If you live in an area that gives you a dose of winter, it’s crucial to know how to dress for the cold. In a nutshell, the cardinal rules of winter dressing include strategic coverage and use of smart layering techniques.

When temperatures dip, I get out my Winter Silks. If you haven’t heard of Wintersilks undergarments, they are the best invention since sliced bread. For those of us in the South who avoid buying heavy sweaters and wool slacks, Wintersilks easily make our lightweight clothing cold weather appropriate.

I’m also a big fan of turtlenecks. I have a long neck and when it gets cold, my entire body feels cold. On the other hand, plenty of people find turtlenecks confining and prefer to wrap scarves around their necks and call it a day. I’m a turtleneck snob. They have to be made of thin gauge cashmere or a wool blend so that they fit nicely under crew neck sweaters, blouses and cardigans. I love my Uniqlo, Vince and Kate Spade Saturday turtlenecks the best.

Cold weather wardrobe guidelines also emphasize keeping your hands and head covered. Contrary to popular opinion, scientists now believe you only lose about 7 to 10 percent of your body heat through your head. This is great news for me since I am still searching for the perfect winter hat that is stylish and doesn’t give me an instant headache. When I find it, I’ll certainly blog about my discovery. It goes without saying that wearing the right footwear in winter is essential for safety and warmth. If trekking through snow and slush is in your winter forecast, make sure you invest in boots that are lined and waterproof, as opposed to just water resistant. Not all socks are created equal either. Wool socks, like the Smartwool brand, do the best job of keeping your feet toasty.

My thoughts go out to all of the folks who are enduring Juno. Keep the faith and stay safe and warm.

Keeping the Cold Out

Michael Kors long sweater
marissacollections.com

ONLY black top
$22 – only.com

Elie Tahari coat
saksoff5th.com

Equipment black pants
$445 – net-a-porter.com

Inverni clothing
$310 – farfetch.com

Whistles wedge booties
$250 – johnlewis.com

Slouch beanie
$100 – black.co.uk

Boot shopping basics

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Boots are my favorite footwear. Even though I loathe cold weather, I can’t wait until the temperature dips enough to warrant breaking out my boots. Judging from the vast array of boots I see on a daily basis, other folks must feel the same way. I understand their widespread appeal, for boots keep your feet warm and comfortable, look good with almost anything, and have a long style life. Although tall riding boots are my all-time personal favorites, I’m also partial to short stacked heel booties.

I acquired my first pair of boots at the age of eight during a cross country trip from Indiana to California. After stopping at Frontier City in Oklahoma, I set my sights on a pair of cowboy boots, and nagged my parents until they bought them for me. No ordinary boots, these were turquoise and black and beautiful! Of course I wore them for the remainder of our entire trip along with a western style shirt and bolo tie. I probably looked like a cast member from the musical Annie Get Your Gun.

Since boots are a bit of an investment and you will want to enjoy them for many seasons, here are some shopping pointers to help you select the right pair for your style and foot needs:

1. Take Your Time

Don’t shop when you are rushed or in an impulsive mood. Before you enter a store, do some research online and pinpoint certain brands and styles that you like. Make sure you read boot ratings and customer reviews to better passess a boot’s suitability for you. Then hit the stores and try on all kinds of boots. Once you purchase a pair, “test drive” them at home for a week (only inside or the store will not accept your return) at different times of the day to make sure they fit well.

2. Learn about your feet

Go to a reputable shoe store or shoe department with well-trained sales clerks and get your feet properly measured. Become informed about your feet so that you select footwear that won’t end up collecting dust in your closet.

3. Think about your needs

Are you on your feet a lot or do you walk long distances to and from work?
Do you live in a climate where a waterproof boot with good traction is a must?
Do you have a foot type or condition that requires a specific design quality such as a wide toe bed or extra shock absorption in the heel? The boot you want may not necessarily be the boot you need. Listen to what your feet are telling you.

4. Look for brands that have a solid reputation for quality, comfort, and style.

Quality and comfort trump style anytime. What good is a gorgeous pair of shoes if they cause pain and damage your feet? Nowadays you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort because there are plenty of brands that offer both. You can read weekly reviews and get email updates about comfort shoes at www.barkingdogshoes.com.

I just bought the boot by Rieker pictured below at GB warehouse in Greenville, SC, but it is also available online . I love the cordovan color of this boot, the decorative ankle buckle, and the fact that it is water resistant and lined with a fleece like material. Originally $130.00, I snagged this boot on sale for $89.99.

What boots are you wearing this season?

Bet on boots

The activewear revolution

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

I watched What Not to Wear religiously throughout the show’s ten season run and can still see Stacy London’s disapproving frown at the sight of someone standing in front of the show’s infamous three way mirror in baggy sweat pants. She not only disliked sweat pants but she also felt that exercise clothing should only be worn when working out. Those days are gone. No longer reserved for the gym or yoga class, workout apparel has become the latest chic men and womenswear trend. As I see it, the amazing evolution of activewear designs combined with our increasingly casual lifestyle account for this phenomenon.

Whether you are young or old, a marathoner or a couch potato, the love of activewear is universal because it is comfortable and affordable. Designers like Alexander Wang, who recently created an activewear inspired collection for H&M, have their fingers on the pulse of what people want. Elie Tahari’s Designation collection for Kohl’s is flavored with a French terry jogger pant and faux fur sweatshirt. Retailers everywhere have enhanced their activewear offerings in response to the surge in sales of this clothing category. I recently discovered Nordstrom’s line called Zella. My sister gave me two pairs of Zella pants, two tops and a jacket for my birthday this year. All the pieces fit like a dream and also have fabulous features like ruching and strategically placed mesh inserts that give them an ultra–hip look.

Active wear is such a formidable fashion force that it has influenced how we dress on a daily basis. Instead of reaching for my skinny jeans, I now put on my yoga pants to run errands. Although I still love my ballet flats, I’ve become quite attached to my puma sneakers. The line between active wear and street wear is so blurry that we might just start referring to activewear as “everywear”.

Active Wear is now Everywear

Fall 2014 fashion trends

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Many fashions could steal your heart this season. All eyes are on plush wrap coats with large shawl colors, cozy sweaters, oversized scarves, and satchel purses. The color navy appears front and center again this fall, as does orchid, maroon, rust and orange. Spice up your wardrobe by throwing an autumn color scarf over your denim jacket or neutral trench, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Fall in Love 2014

Style tips for overworked women

Monday, August 25th, 2014

In last month’s posting, “Fashion confessions of a wardrobe stylist“, I talked about my journey through a style challenged period and the lessons I learned about how to look good when every day feels like a marathon. Here are the five style saving strategies I developed to help me during busy and stressful times:

1. Downsize your closet. Get rid of what you don’t wear, so you can quickly locate the items in your closet.

2. Uncomplicate your daily dressing routine by using fewer clothing and accessory pieces to create an outfit. The classic dress, for example, answers a busy woman’s prayer. Slip it on, pair it with a statement making accessory and shoe, and you are ready to take on the world.

3. Buy versatile pieces. A busy woman’s core wardrobe should consist of functional pieces that offer endless style possibilities. Let’s revisit the classic dress again. Wear it over a sweater or blouse and it turns into a jumper. Pair it with a trendy moto style jacket, and you’ve created the ultimate date night outfit.

4. Find your style formula. Every woman has a fashion profile, based on what looks best for their body type and suits their personal style and budget. During unusually busy periods, it’s best to stick to tried and true styles.

5. Build a personalized Look Book. Snap photos of the favorite outfits you create and store them in your phone or laptop. Keep a fashion file of looks you like and take the file with you on your next shopping trip.

What style advice do you have for the perpetually busy woman?